Based on bike blogs and my friends, naming your bike seems to be very popular. As much as I enjoy my bike and get a kick out of other people’s bike names, I just can’t get into it. This is either “the Schwinn” or “my road bike” and it’s what I ride 95% of the time.
Specifically, it is a diamond frame ’79 Schwinn Le Tour IV. I bought it from a friend about a year ago when I moved back to Minneapolis. It’s looking pretty good for a 33 year old bike, though the decals are almost gone and there are many small places where the paint has chipped off. As far as I can tell, most of the components are original to the bike, though the front wheel was replaced at some point. I also bought a new seat after I got rather sore the first time I rode it more than 10 miles – ouch! Of all the things I own that are women-specific, my bike seat might just be the most important.
It’s not the fastest ride on the Greenway, but is much faster than the Schwinn Searcher I had in college. I can also lift it with one arm. I will never buy another cruiser as long as I live. Having a bike that is capable of getting me to work within half an hour made bike commuting doable. Despite that, the Schwinn’s best performance feature may be the fact that I feel comfortable putting my U-lock on it and leaving it outside all over Minneapolis. If anyone is looking for a cheap commuter, I highly recommend an old steel frame 10-speed. I like cross bars myself, but mixte bikes are great for skirts.
The Schwinn does seem to require a fair amount of maintenance, which is fine by me, because there’s an awesome group of women in my neighborhood who work on their bikes together. In the year since I bought it I have:
– Removed a bunch of ugly stickers applied by a previous owner
– Changed the seat
– Gone through several inner tubes
– Trued the wheels
– Adjusted the break cables
– Replaced the break pads
– Overhauled the bottom bracket
– Replaced the shifter cables and housing
While I did all of it myself, I wouldn’t have even known where to start, and in some cases wouldn’t have even known anything was wrong, without Grease Rag and Sunrise Cyclery. As bike repairs go, however, everything on this bike was fairly easy to fix. I do have a few more projects in mind for the Schwinn, if I can find the parts. As soon as I do, you’ll see photos of her new look!
Bottom line: This bike is easily the best money I’ve ever spent.